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The General Consensus

This week I’m going to be doing something a little different. I have gathered information from posts from five different bloggers.

The bloggers I have selected are Brian Solis, Peter Shankman, Dave Fleet, Adam Sherk, and Arik Hanson. Each of these bloggers are very respected in the world of Public Relations. I will be looking at a post from each of them that have to deal with small business and social media.

Clearly, these posts are covering the same topics that have always been covered on my blog. What will make this post so different from others of my own is that I will let their blogs do the talking instead of telling you my own thoughts and ideas on the matter. So, let’s see what they all have to say.

Brian Solis

The post that I would like to bring to your attention from Brian Solis is called “Dear Startups: Disrupt Yourself To Disrupt The Industry.” This article is all about how startups can come from anywhere, and can be done by anyone. It also discusses a little bit about how Solis got his start in the industry, and what he does other than blogging.

To read the full article, click here. I highly recommend that you check out the interview video.

Peter Shankman

The post to note by Peter Shankman is called “Seven Ways For Small Biz To Generate Revenue With Social Media Right Now.” This post is exactly what it sounds like. It takes a look at seven various types of businesses and talks about how each of them can use social media to generate revenue right away. Shankman also discusses his purpose behind the post. He talks about how he presents these things at conferences all the time, but realizes that not everyone has time to attend such events. So, he posted them online for the convenience of everyone.

To read the full article click here.

Dave Fleet

The post to focus on by Dave Fleet is called, “Startups: No You Don’t Need To Hire A Social Media Expert.” This post talks about all the reasons that social media is important for your business, but why you shouldn’t hire someone specifically to manage it. Fleet instead suggests that you pull from within your current staff and find those who can help with your social media from the inside.

“You’re better off focusing on your product/service, democratizing your digital efforts and hiring broad communications skills when the time is right.” ~Dave Fleet

To read the full article click here.

Adam Sherk

The post I would like you all to focus on from Adam Sherk would be “5 Ways That Social Media Impacts SEO.” This article may seem a little out of place as it is more so directed towards authors and publishers but, like much advice about social media, can be applied to your small business as well.

In his post Sherk discusses how social media likes and links affect where your business shows up in Google search results. He then goes on to discuss how this in turn brings more traffic to your websites. The post also goes into depth on each of these five ways and how to carry them out.

To read the full article click here.

Arik Hanson

The final post I would like you to take a look at would be Arik Hanson’s post titled, “Why is good social media training so hard to find?” This article is talks al about how hard it is to find decent social media training today. Hanson acknowledges that everyone today seems to know a little bit about social media, but it’s hard to find true experts who can really teach others about it. He also discusses the things that many people lack and could benefit from learning about in the world of social media.

To read the full article click here.

I hope that you found all of these posts to be helpful to your business in some way. Remember, we can always better ourselves and make our business stronger. So please take these posts into consideration when working on your businesses social media.

~Jennifer

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A Small Business Take on Social Media

 

This week we are going to take a look at a small business and their social media. We will look at what they are currently doing, what they should be doing differently, and what they can do in the future to expand their media presence.

The business we will be looking at is Skalicky Electric Inc. bases out of Hinckley, Minnesota. This electric wiring company is owned and operated by Mark Skalicky with the help of his wife Mary. Mark and Mary have run the business together for over 30 years now, and have no plans of quitting any time soon.

So, now that you know a little history on the business, let’s look into their social media; or lack thereof.

The Interview

Q: What social media platforms do you currently use for Skalicky Electric Inc.?

A: None. Neither Mark or Mary use social media themselves. “We don’t know how, and at our age we aren’t gonna learn,” Mary Skalicky said.

Q: Would you ever consider using social media as a way to get your company into the public eye?

A: Perhaps, but they both agreed that they don’t think it’s necessary. “I haven’t had too much trouble finding work so far. Word of mouth works just fine around here,” Mark Skalicky said.

Q: What is your biggest struggle with joining social media for your company?

A: “We have no clue where to even start,” Mary said, “and I work a full-time job outside of the company, so I don’t have hours to spend working on it.”

Q: Do you see social media ever becoming a part of your company in the future?

A: They were both unsure of this, but starting to open up to the idea. “We’ll see,” Mark said, “If you really think we should we might just give it a try.”

The Takeaway

After talking to the couple behind Skalicky Electric Inc. I immediately knew that they needed some help to keep their business going and growing in this day and age. To be competitive in the current state of our world, you must stay connected in any way possible.

In fact, if you don’t get your business on social media, someone else might put it there for you. For example, due to multiple people searching for Skalicky Electric Inc. on Facebook, the site created a page for them. The problem with this is that Facebook only uses information that they can find on the search, which means that there is no guarantee that it is accurate. Even worse is that the age is very blah and doesn’t present the greatest image of the company.

The Fix

First off, social media isn’t as scary and intimidating as some may think. Anyone can learn to do it, and at any age. I know there are a lot of different sites out there, but like I have stated in previous posts, just start with one and move on from there.

Businesses need social media. It’s as simple as that. Mark and Mary both believe in word of mouth, which isn’t a bad thing by any means, but that can only get you so far. Soon enough your friends and relatives aren’t going to need you to work for them, and then where do you turn to? With social media, you have an entirely new pool of people to offer your services to.

Another thing that Mary was worried about was having time to take on social media. This is a common misconception. Getting your business into the world of social media really takes no time at all. All it takes is a few minutes a couple times a week to get started. Then, as long as you are consistent, you can use it as much or little as you want to.

Social media won’ t be a waste of time, and it will help your business in the long run. If you don’t know where to start please take into consideration what I have said in The Fix section of this post. Or do what Skalicky Electric Inc. plans to do and have a younger friend or family member help get you started.

~Jennifer

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The World of Graphic Design– For Beginners

 

There are countless websites out there for creating and producing your own content. Sites like indesign, befunky, and Vector to name a few. These sites can be used for everything from designing a logo to creating your own business cards and flyers. However, when starting off it can be hard to navigate through everything. A lot of these sites can be not only confusing but they can even be a little intimidating as well.

So, we are going to take a look at one of the websites that I have tried, and had success with using, in the past. We are going to look at how to use the functions of the site, as well as what I like and dislike about the website.

The website that I will be reviewing is Canva.com. This is my very favorite design site because it is easy to use and has templates for practically everything.

To use this site, all you have to do is sign up for your free account. Then, you pick what type of project you would like to work on. I will be creating a grand opening flyer. I will be using one of Canva’s preloaded templates for this. It can be found in the Marketing Materials section.

blog 4.1After selecting this, I will then select a specific template and start customizing it. This site allows you to change images, fonts, sizing, colors, and so much more. The best part is that the customization is really easy to use thanks to their convenient side bar selections.  One of my favorite features of Canva.com is that you can even upload your own images, logos, etc. to really customize your work.

blog 4.2

Another great feature of Canva.com that is saves your work as you go so you don’t have to worry about losing anything while playing around with it. Plus, you always have the option to undo things if you make a change and decide that it isn’t what you wanted to do after all. So, I encourage you all to check out all the features it has to offer.

blog 4.3

I use this site all the time for everything from class projects to work and the only bad thing that I have to say about it is that some elements cost money to use if you don’t have a paid membership. Memberships cost $9.95 a month if it is a work account, or it costs $12.95 a month per user if it is not for business purposes.

I, being the poor college student that I am, just use the free features because I can’t afford the monthly costs on top of all my other bills. But hey, we can’t expect everything to be free. They’re a business too, and they need money just like the rest of us. However, this is definitely something that is worth investing in for your business.

All in all, Canva.com is a great website that I would recommend that you all give a try for your business, or whatever else in your life that you may find a use for it.

blog 4.4Here is my finished mockup grand opening flyer. (Note: This took less than five minutes to produce using Canva.com)

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Top 5 Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Businesses on Social Media.

  1. Being inconsistent in use
  2. Inconsistent branding
  3. Lack of personality
  4. Being too self-centered
  5. Social Media overload

 

  1. Being Inconsistent in Use

What goes wrong: Many businesses will simply post when they feel like it. There is no rhyme or reason to it. They are so inconsistent that their consumers either receive so many posts that they get annoyed, or so few posts that they forget all about the business.

How to fix it: If this is a concern of yours, don’t worry just yet. This is an easy fix. All you need to do is come up with a strategy. Try making a schedule for what and when you will be posting. Always have an extra post ready in case you run out of time, or come up blank for your scheduled post.

Basically, as long as you plan ahead, you can avoid inconsistencies.

  1. Inconsistent Branding

What goes wrong: What I mean by inconsistent branding is that there is no one clear image of the business. Looking at their Facebook page you see one thing, then you go to Twitter and see another. When you go to Instagram you set yet an entirely whole different thing. There is no consistent color scheme, imaging, post type, and sometimes, in the worst scenario, no consistent logo.

How to fix it: The simple fix to this one, is simply to make things easier for yourself. Create one logo, in one color. Use similar content on all sites. Don’t change your color scheme from one site to the next. You want your consumers to recognize you.

Although each site is formatted a little different, your brand should remain the same.

  1. Lack of Personality

What goes wrong: A common problem that business don’t often realize is that they try to appear too professional. The use a more technical form of vocabulary. Corporate speech doesn’t work!

How to fix it: When posting to social media, you need to be human. If your audience can’t relate to you, they’ll find someone that they can. Be real. Be honest. I know it’s cliché, but treat them how you want to be treated.

Show your audience the you behind your business.

  1. Being Too Self-centered

What goes wrong: Take a look at your social media feeds. I guarantee that you will see at least one post that says, “Take a look at my new product,” or something of the sort. That’s the problem.  Media today is way to “me” oriented. Your posts shouldn’t be about you. They should be about your consumers.

How to fix it: Talk to and about your audience. Highlight consumers who have tried your product in the past and been satisfied. One great way to not be self-centered is to share other’s content. It will build connections with that person and draw in their audience as well. Just make sure your posts are more than just talking about you

Don’t just sell yourself.

  1. Social Media Overload

What goes wrong: This perhaps may be the biggest issue that business face on social media. It happens when you try to hit all of the media platforms that you’ve heard of at once. It’s impossible to do without becoming overwhelmed and stressed out. This of course usually ends with all of your social media failing.

How to fix it: The solution to this is simple. Start off with just one. Try to pick the site that you are most familiar with. This will make it easier for you to develop your business through it. Once you have a solid presence on that site, add another, and another, and another. Continue this until you have reached all the media platforms that you had hoped.

Just remember, start off slow, and let it grow from there.

These are just a few of the mistakes that can happen when jumping into social media for your business. I hope that these solutions help. So, good luck; and remember, the best thing you can do to help your business is to give it a try.

~Jennifer

The Basics of Google Analytics

Analytics: the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics

Basically, analytics is a what you look at to get any statistical information about your site. The way that we will focus on it here is by looking specifically at how analytics can be used in regards to personal, or small business, websites. To do this we will be using the free Google Analytics software.

Setting up your account:

To access this, you need to open up an internet browser to the google server. Then search for Google Analytics. This will be found at analytics.google.com. Once here, click on the Sign Up tab on the right side of the screen.

The tab will then bring you to a page where you will fill in some information about your website. Once complete, click the Get Tracking ID button on the bottom left side of the page.

Then a terms a service box will pop up outlining the terms for your area. Accept these terms to continue.

Now that you have accepted the terms of service you will be brought to a page that has your tracking ID. Note that if you are using a third-party site such as WordPress, there may be additional steps you need to take through that sight itself.

Navigating Google Analytics:

Now that you have an account set up, let’s look at how to access some of the important basics. The things that we will be covering are audience information, acquisition, and behavior. Let’s get started.

Audience:

Look at the left side of your screen and select Audience from the Reports panel. When you select this, more options will appear as a drop down. From this list, select overview. The main things to focus on when first starting off in this section would be page views and users.

Page views will tell you the total number of times that anyone has viewed your page. Note that this will count the same person visiting your page every time that they do. Therefore, numbers from this, while accurate, may potentially be misleading.

Users on the other hand, will simply tell you the number of people that have been to your page. This number does not include multiple visits from the same person. Because of this, many people prefer to look at this when determining how big of a reach their site has.

Acquisitions:

Next, we will move on to acquisition. This again will be found by looking at the left side of your screen and scrolling down in your Reports panel. Again, after clicking on this you should select overview.

Here you will see charts and data concerning channels. Channels are the various ways that your users are getting to your site. Examples of these would be searching, links, through other sites, social media, and so on.

This is important to know when starting off as a business because it helps you know where your audience is coming from. This then tells you what areas to focus more of your energy on and what places you should perhaps disregard.

Behavior:

            The final sections of analytics we will be looking in to is behavior. Once again, this can be found on the left side of your screen by scrolling down under the Reports panel. After clicking on behavior, we are going to, one last time, click on overview. The main things that we will want to pay attention to on this page when starting out is page views and the amount of time spent on page.

Page views will tell you how many times specific pages within your website are viewed. This will let you know which pages are the most popular and should perhaps be boosted in your site to appear first. It will also allow you to see which pages get fewer views, which can indicate either an unpopular content choice, or can show that you need to put more time and thought into the design and content of that page.

The other important thing to focus on would be the time spent on pages. This will tell you how long viewers actually spent looking at specific pages. Again, this will show you which pages are more popular and which are not. If a page appears to have viewers spending a lot more time on it, you may want to take another look at it and consider revising the page. The goal is to make sure that viewers spend a lot of time on the page because they want to, not because they can’t find what they need.

 

Clearly there is a lot that you can tell by looking at you websites analytics, and Google Analytics is a good place to start. We have only scratched the surface so far, and I am certainly no expert, so please feel free to watch the following video or visit one of the sites listed to learn more!

Optimize Smart

Google Help Center

MOZ

~Jennifer